“We are taking it slow.”

That was the mantra I had back in the fall when I started dating Lance Fullin. But then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and our first obstacle as a couple presented itself — one that would either help or hinder our new, growing relationship. 

In mid-March, when stay-at-home advisories were put into place, we had a talk. Definitely the first “serious” talk of the relationship. The topic: Do we ride out this pandemic together? Or do we stay in our respective homes and hope this doesn’t last too long? We went with the former. 

Remember that mantra? “We are taking it slow.” That completely went out the window. Just four short months after we started dating, Lance moved into my house in Edgartown.

Though those first days of the quarantine were disorienting, we quickly settled into our new routine. His job at The Green Room was put on hold, while my job at the Vineyard Gazette transitioned into working from home full-time. By day, I sat in my little home office upstairs, while Lance found things to do around the house to keep busy.

Nights were spent doing the hobbies we loved. We cooked together (Lance doing most of the cooking). We played video games. I completed a cross stitch project I had been working on for three years. Lance, with his weekly band practices on hiatus, would strum his guitar in the living room (much to the annoyance of our dog, Riley) while I sat and read a book. 

The weekends were dedicated to doing random projects around the house. Lance is my handy man. He painted our front door blue. He replaced the rickety coat rack with a more durable piece made out of leftover wood flooring and a mirror that came from my grandparents’ house. We did yard work, even mapping out our vision for the backyard.

On Sundays we explored the Island, where we both grew up. In March and April, when the weather was still shockingly mild, we would pick a hiking trail, load up Riley into the car and head out. In my home office hangs a map of all of the Island trails, and we have slowly been marking each one we have visited with a push pin.

Lance and I were admittedly in our “honeymoon phase” during those first few weeks. We didn’t argue, or get annoyed at the other, or feel suffocated by the isolation.

Apparently, there is a term for what Lance and I, and many other couples, have gone through during quarantine. We were, and I guess still are, in a “turbo relationship” — a relationship that escalated quickly during the pandemic, causing couples to hit milestones faster than they would during more normal times.

According to the statistics, over a third of those polled agreed that two months in isolation felt like the equivalent to two years of commitment. And over half of the people said that they now know they want to be with their partner forever.

Do I feel like Lance and I have been through two years of a relationship? No. Honestly, how could we? We haven’t been able to do anything that is considered normal. And maybe, just maybe, he is the person I am meant to be with for the rest of my life. But we need to spend time as a couple not in complete isolation from the rest of the world to really figure that out.

Did we move in with each other earlier than either one of us intended? Absolutely. But do we regret any of the decisions we have made in the past few months that have led us to where we are now? Absolutely not.